We had the good fortune of connecting with Kev Luu and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kev, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work-life balance as a creative person is almost an oxymoron. Team No Sleep is often celebrated and sometimes even encouraged, but I can still clearly hear my father telling me as a young boy, to not burn the candle on both ends. When first starting my career as a music producer and audio engineer, I feared if I didn’t say yes to every opportunity that passed my way, I would miss my BIG SHOT and not achieve the dreams that my family and I have sacrificed so much for. Being this “yes-man” had led me to work 30-hour recording sessions, double booking gigs, falling asleep during times when my attention was needed, and doing damage to my physical and mental health that I still deal with to this day.

I learned a lot from the hustle, that’s for sure… and I know better than to dwell in the past, there’s nothing productive in that mind space, trust me. However, I question if I went too fast for my own good. Did I miss opportunities within those opportunities I was in because I didn’t allow myself to be fully present in that moment? Was I not learning as much as I could’ve been from those sessions or clients because my mind was already thinking about the next gig or the next next gig. Now I don’t want to sound ungrateful that I was busy and working so much, I understand this is a feast or famine industry and I’ve had my share of slow runs that had me re-evaluating life choices. In the hustle, however, I have missed important once-in-a-lifetime moments and have worked every holiday in existence.

Work-life balance is important though; the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang explains how contrary forces may actually be complementary. With winter come summer, the calm after the storm, the manic after the depression, the simple ups and downs of life, perspective. Taking time off is good. Not just good, necessary. They say art imitates life, if you don’t live a life, what do you make art out of? My life lately has been attending Stop Asian Hate rallies and volunteering with non-profits like Seniors Fight Back, where we offer free self-defense classes and pepper spray to elders in our community. It’s fueled my soul greatly to volunteer my time for a purpose and movement that is bigger than myself and helps my community that needs it. I’ve also had a great fortune lately to go on amazing hikes out here in the beautiful Los Angeles area with friends who value each other. My time away from the studio has been so refreshing and absolutely needed and when I’m back in the stu, I’ve been more focused and creative than I’ve ever been.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Nothing in the creative field is easy or a straight path. Everybody’s path is going to look different and what worked for others may not work for you. My path has always been centered around my love for music and audio so when things got tough, I always had something creative to rely on. I’ve taken all kinds of jobs from being a recording engineer in a commercial recording studio, working corporate audio jobs, front of house engineer, audio technician, producing and recording music for a musical, guest teaching at a high school music tech class, and I even drove for Uber once upon a time. Attention to detail, patience, being available for last minute gigs, and persistence are keys to my longetivity and success in this career. This industry is not for everybody, but if you really want it, you’ll find a way to make it work and if you don’t ever give up, the universe will eventually bless you with what is rightfully yours. Karma is very fair, so beware of the energy you put out into the world. After my time has come and gone, I hope people remember me as somebody who was easy and fun to work with, that I brought positive energy into every room I was in, and despite all the pain and hurt I’ve had to endure, that I was able to remain a kind and compassionate person through it all.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would most definitely take them on a hike to Switzer Falls. Hiking alongside the stream and the waterfall at the end of the trail is so peaceful and beautiful; it is a must-see for people visiting LA. If my guests eat meat, a burger at Blasteran in Beverly Hills is delightful and for the non-meat-eaters, Thai food at Wat Dong Moon Lek Noodle always hits the spot, If we had time to kill, a stroll through The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is like jumping in a time machine and is such a tranquil escape from the city. Can not forget about dessert at Melo Melo for some mango coconut jelly or bread pudding at B Sweets to end the night.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to give a shoutout to my good friend and business partner, Amy Lui. Amy is a music tech teacher at John H. Francis Polytechnic Senior High School in Sun Valley and her work with her students has been a huge inspiration to me. I’ve had the great honor of being a guest teacher during her classes and witnessing the student’s enthusiasm and the program she’s built is absolutely incredible, to say the least. I’ve always felt like teachers are the unsung heroes and I’d be nowhere if it weren’t for the great teachers and mentors I’ve had in my life. Amy and I plan on starting a music academy where we merge her experience in education and curriculum development and my experience working in the music industry to help students of all ages to express themselves through applicable skills in music production and technology.

Website: www.kevocals.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kevluuinthestu/

Image Credits
Phreezy, Dominic DiTanna, Young-Jin

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